"SLAVERY | SCIENCE | SECURITY — Plantation Medicine in Grenada during the Age of Abolition"
Wednesday, 24th April 2019 to Tuesday, 6th August 2019
and will continue as an online-exhibition subsequently
Location: Grenada National Museum, Gordon De LaMothe Gallery, Young Street, St. George's
This exhibition focuses on plantation slaves and how their bodies became objects of medical knowledge in Grenada around the 1800s. It aims to show how theories about the susceptibility to certain diseases influenced scientific discourses as well as the medical and moral distinction with regard to “gender” and “race”. Example cases, identified in original records, illustrate the treatment methods and healing traditions in a colonial context. Implications in forms of economic, political, and social arguments, such as the abolitionist debates, will be traced; as a means of providing insight into the question of the intent and extent of colonial activities, which involved the application of scientific knowledge about the human body, originating in the fear of threats to physical health and security, respectively.
Deriving from a dissertation project about the histories of the “Creation, Transformation and Instrumentalisation of Colonial Medical Knowledge in the British West Indies, circa 1780-1830”, the displayed abstracts localise threads, discourses and scientific tools stemming from plantations as spaces of heterogeneity, power, and violence. An identification of and attempts to explain the perception of medical understanding, notably its effects on the formation of racial ideas become possible. Medical texts reveal their scientific and political influences, particularly in the course of Abolitionism, and the use of medical arguments to legitimise European economic interests.